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Raja Birbal (1528-1586) was the Grand Vizier (Wazīr-e Azam) of the Mughal court in the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar and one of his most trusted members along with being a part of Akbar's inner council of nine advisors, known as the navaratna, a Sanskrit word meaning nine jewels. Birbal's duties in Akbar's court were mostly military and administrative but he was also a very close friend of the emperor, who liked Birbal most for his wit as well as his wisdom, as a result of which they frequently had witty and humorous exchanges between them. These exchanges and stories have become part of a rich tradition of folklore and legend.

Born Mahesh Das in 1528 in the village Ghoghara of Sihawal tehsil in Sidhi district of Madhya Pradesh, Birbal grew up in a kayastha Brahmin household, educated but impoverished. He was a poet and author whose wit and wisdom led the Emperor Akbar to invite him to be a part of the royal court and to bestow upon him a new name - Birbal. Akbar also conferred on him the title of Raja.

Guru Amar Das & Raja Birbal

Raja Birbal died in the battle of Malandari Pass, attempting to quell unrest amongst Afghan or Pashtun tribes in Northwest India. Akbar was said to have mourned for a long time on hearing the news. The death was said to be caused by treachery, not military defeat. Sanchit Fazal killed Birbal because of his close relationship with Akbar.